Expand Gopher Chauffeur

A little more funding would help the popular service reach many more students.

The Minnesota Student Association is pushing Boynton Health Services to offer its ride service, Gopher Chauffeur, on Thursday nights and expand hours overall, the Minnesota Daily reported Monday.

Boynton director of public health and communications Dave Golden told the Daily that Boynton is taking MSA’s recommendations “very seriously,” but he cited budget issues.

After reports of an armed man caused University police to issue a shelter-in-place notice Monday, the University should be looking for ways to assure students that campus is safe. Monday’s incident notwithstanding, expanding Gopher Chauffeur should be a no-brainer.

Gopher Chauffeur currently offers students rides home from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. Friday and Saturday nights, and it gave nearly 11,000 rides last school year.

Adding service Thursdays would cost about $7,000 per semester, Golden said. Adding an hour or two each night would bring more costs, but it would still be a modest increase to the program’s $87,500 budget and a drop in the bucket for the University.

Boynton has demonstrated a desire to broaden its services through accessible, preventative programs like PAWS, its weekly pet therapy program. Expanding Gopher Chauffeur would fit that goal.

Although crime on campus is still relatively low, the perception of safety is almost as important. Expanding Gopher Chauffeur would be an easy, inexpensive way to put more students at ease.